At-Large candidate wants to bring experience of 48 years living in Yampa Valley to City Council
Daryl "Dog" Levin said he is running for council to stop development like what is planned at the Brown Ranch.
Daryl “Dog” Levin has more experience living in the Yampa Valley than anyone running for Steamboat Springs City Council. In his 48 years in the valley, he has lived in a tipi, cut his own logs in Big Red Park to build a house and has developed a “passion for the valley that is second to none.”
Levin said he is running for an At-Large seat on Council to stop development like the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Brown Ranch.
“I’m not a big proponent of filling the valley with 6,000 to 10,000 more people because our infrastructure that we have will not allow that,” Levin said. “City government shouldn’t be in the housing business. The city’s responsibility is to take care of the city, the police department, the fire department, EMS and the infrastructure of the city of Steamboat Springs.”
(The population projection agreed on by the city and housing authority for Brown Ranch is just over 6,000, but some of those people presumably already live in Steamboat.)
One of Levin’s key arguments against the Brown Ranch is that is won’t be affordable because Council and the housing authority have no control over interest rates or how the Federal Reserve decides to adjust them.
Levin said he is especially concerned about the traffic he feels the Brown Ranch would cause, which is a significant concern to him because of the limitations of U.S. Highway 40. While there may be several connections to the Brown Ranch itself, Levin said he feels there is only one ingress and egress when considering the highway bottleneck at 13th Street.
Levin said the city should not be working with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority at all. The housing authority is a government entity that was created by the city and Routt County and Council approves appointments to the housing authority board in partnership with County Commissioners.
“I do not feel that it is the city’s responsibility to get involved with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and do the housing,” Levin said. “It’s always been done by private development, it’s the way it should be done.”
Levin said he feels Steamboat Resort should be spending more on housing, saying that they should put at least $50 million toward building housing for their employees.
The Brown Ranch should be split up into 35-acre parcels and allow people to build single-family homes on them, Levin said. He added that the city should wait until developments currently happening in town are finished before trying to build more housing. Levin pointed YVHA’s Anglers and Mid Valley projects as well as some pursued by private developers on the west end of town.
“We only have so much land and it’s a very narrow valley,” Levin said. “I’ve seen what annexation has done to my great state of California and it’s not very pretty.”
Levin said he is a supporter of a regional train in the Yampa Valley because it could help solve housing issues by moving workers up and down the valley. With a train, it would be viable to live as far away as McCoy and still work in Steamboat, Levin said.
“You’re opening up a whole bunch of opportunity for people to build in Craig, even a little more in Hayden and all the way South,” Levin said.
Levin said he supports the adopted Routt County Climate Action Plan, but says that it should be a slow process to transition. He pointed to other countries like China which still burn coal and put “straight pollution” in the air as to why there wasn’t a need to move quickly.
Still, Levin said he is a supporter of developing more green, renewable energy and has been since he installed passive solar energy on his house in the 80s. Levin said green solutions may cost more upfront, but that Council needs to pay attention to the return over the life of the project.
“You just don’t go, we’re doing this,” Levin said. “It has to be sustainable to do it of course and the money has got to be there to do it.”
When it comes to a property tax, Levin said it is something that the city could consider, though he wasn’t sure how that would look. He said that to him second homeowners are getting off easy without needing to pay property taxes and he would be open to looking at a tax that tried to target non-locals who own property.
“We might need one if we’re going to continue to grow. We can’t depend on our taxes from tourism to pay for everything,” Levin said. “(Second homeowners) are getting off scot-free, and we’re not.”